How We Roll: Coach Michele John

Posted on December 2, 2012 by


On The Road Again…

Well, this last year has gone by in a blur to say the least.  My life has been filled with major transitions ranging from a move across country (ok, actually several moves, but more about that later), leaving a job I have held for over six years, moving away from family and friends and starting a new chapter in life.

This year’s How We Roll is dedicated to life on the road.  Having made several 2,300 mile trips from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Fredericksburg, VA, to complete our move has provided me a wonderful opportunity into how to be successful when not tied to the creature comforts of home.  The first trip was with my husband, the second was just me and our two dogs piled into a Budget van and the third and final trip was me bringing our horses back east.  I have always seen myself as incredibly capable, but even I had no idea what each trip would hold in store for me.  The one thing I did have on my side were the things I could control:  How I ate, moved, and overall took care of myself on the road.

Traveling with Horses

6am:  Wake up in my hotel room, use the restroom and brush my teeth.  Run the coffee/tea maker and let my cup steep while I hit the floor for about 15 minutes of quiet meditation, setting my intentions for the day.  I would take the next 10 minutes and run through a series of yoga poses to get my body moving, stretched out and engage my brain.  Take a quick look at my computer to return emails or post a status update on Facebook, then off to the shower, my cup of tea, a protein shot and gathering up my hotel room contents.  It’s time to get the ponies rolling.

7:15:  Arrive at the stables, jog with the horses to the trailer since most nights they were stalled so not a lot of room for them to get their blood moving.  Throw hay to each horse, close up the doors, head to a fuel station to top off the tank, buy a bag of ice for the cooler, get my water out and placed in the cup holder.

8:15am:  Eat!  I had prepared a large cooler full of baked chicken thighs (about 4 lbs of boneless/skinless) with olive oil and Herbs de Provence or a little Himalayan salt and pepper for seasoning, apples, baby carrots, hard boiled eggs, spring mix, avocado dressing, hemp seeds, frozen Nalgene bottles of vegetable juice and lots of bottled water.  I had the cooler in the front of the truck with me so that I could eat as needed.  I kept the cooked chicken in zip bags, measured out so I knew how much chicken was in each meal I was eating.

10:30 am:  Stop to use the bathroom at the closest town I can find.  Grab more food (hard boiled eggs and an apple), another 32 ounces of water into the cup holder and on my way.  I would set the cruise control on the truck and turn on some good music, courtesy of my iTunes and find myself doing a little “butt dancing” in the car.  I have found that when I am alone, I have an amazing singing voice, I don’t know what happens when someone else joins me in the car and can listen in, hmmmm.  My “dancing” allows my legs, ankles, knees, torso and arms to move around.  This is not cardio and I am not driving all over the road, but just enough to keep moving and engaged.  I do isometric exercise movements in addition squeezing my quads, abs, glutes, using the floor board to isolate my hamstrings, squeezing and pulling the steering wheel to work my upper body.  It’s not perfect, but it’s something.

12:30pm:  Time to get more fuel for the truck, use the bathroom, check on the ponies and let them stretch their legs, and grab more food for me.  I use the time with the horses to get in a little jog while I trot each of them around.  Filling up both water buckets and carrying them over to the trailer make for easy bicep curls.  Once they are back in the trailer and truck is full, I then take out a packet of chicken, baby carrots, hemp seeds and a little salad and avocado dressing.  I shred the chicken on the greens, toss in my dressing and hemp seeds and it is time to eat, yay!

2:30pm:  Truck stop bathroom break, reload with more water and fresh brewed iced tea, grab some more chicken, check on the ponies and back then on the road.

4:00pm:  Yep, that is me, driving, drinking my water, performing yet another amazing round of “car Karaoke” singing.   For those of you wondering, yes, I am actually engaged in driving, but I have found that when I keep my mind active, I am far more engaged in driving and what is going on around me.  I have also found I cannot do books on tape, as I tend to get very relaxed and a bit sleepy, which is never a good thing when driving.  But for those of you that can, I salute you!

5:30pm:  Stop for fuel, bathroom, check on the horses, grab my dinner of chicken, carrots, apple, avocado dressing (makes a great dip for chicken), and water.  I am almost to the next “horse motel” so I keep rolling at this point.

7:00pm:  Arrive at the horse motel, check in with the appropriate travel papers, find where the ponies are sleeping for the night, carry hay to each stall, check their water and begin to off load the horses.  Tonight I am lucky and have a large arena to turn the horses out in before I need to tuck them into their stalls.  This means I have three horses, full of energy running around. I take advantage of the sand and jog around the arena as well, keeping them moving and giving me the opportunity to get some blood pumping through my legs as well.

8:00pm:  Horses are tucked away for the night; I arrive at the hotel where I am staying.  I unload my bag for the night and my cooler.  I load up on more ice for the chest (if needed) and grab out a small bag of chicken and a handful of carrots.  I go down to the lobby and get some hot water for my herbal tea.  I take a quick shower to get the road and horse grime off of me, I change into my jammies, complete a series of downward dog and plank poses, and stretch a bit.  Finally, I call my husband to check in for the night so that he knows I am safe and sound and I check on emails.

9:30pm:  I brush my teeth, climb into my bed, turn on my meditation playlist on my iPhone and once done I sit up tall and  close my eyes and take a series of long, deep breaths (at least six seconds) through my nose and then exhale to a count of at least 6 seconds.  I do this for about 5 minutes.  My head is quiet, my body relaxed.  I climb under the covers and within minutes I am off to sleep.

The next morning the alarm goes off at 6am and I do it all over again until I arrive in Virginia.

What have I learned on the road regarding food?

There is NO SUCH THING as eating 100% clean on the road unless you bring your own food.  Yes, you can do a good job finding decent choices at stores like Whole Foods where there is a juice bar and organic chicken available, but you never know for sure what folks are doing with your food.  Such things like a low grade olive oil, a little sugar in a balsamic dressing or chicken seasoning or higher than expected sodium levels can wreak havoc on your body.

What have I learned on the road regarding working out?

Get creative!  If you have a gym in your hotel, then it is a no brainer.  Some hotel chains will even deliver a workout kit to your room to use during your stay.  But if not, pack bands and cords if possible.  Even without prop or tool,  you can still get in a good body weight workout (squats or squat jumps, walking lunges or lunges, hamstring bridges, “Jane Fonda’s”, plank, torso curl ups, pushups (men/women’s or incline on a dresser or countertop), climb stairs (if safe…hotel stair wells can be a bit sketchy at times), go for a walk or jog, do calf raises on a curb or step, jumping jacks and on and on.

How is traveling different now:

I have learned over the last almost three years, I can’t travel without planning beforehand.  I have to have my food with me.  It gets really simple as far was what I bring with me. At the end of the day I eat to fuel and nourish my body, and not to comfort myself. I also keep foods with higher sugar contents out of my cooler so that my energy stays high all day.  If I am traveling with a cooler, then I can have pre-cooked meats with me and typically several bottles of frozen vegetable juice.  If not, then I rely a bit more on protein powder shots, hard boiled eggs, canned albacore like the Rain Coast brand which is really yummy stuff, small packs of baby carrots, apples / fruit, I will even go so far as to “Google” where I am going to so that I can find a place that does juicing if I can’t bring my own. Starbucks is even getting in on the movement and I have found they are opening “juice bars” along with their coffee shops, Whole Foods has an excellent juice bar along with even some Jamba Juices dabbling in vegetable juices.   When I have all of my own food, the scale doesn’t move up.  When I rely on even the smallest amount of outside food, my body reacts and I can be anywhere from a half to a full pound up in inflammation.   I know I can’t allow myself to not have a plan in place!


Ah, challenges! Yes, I have had my share when traveling.  From breaking down and being stranded, to having an ice chest fail to keep my ice working for more than several hours.  The key to overcoming challenges is to be prepared, be flexible and breathe!

As a side note, I worked with my coach, Sheri and opted to fuel with higher calories to support my body during the higher stress times of driving across the country. It made all of the difference in how I felt, how I used my time on the road and it allowed me to have high levels of energy each trip!

Michele John

Certified GT Coach


Posted in: HOW WE ROLL